Celebrate Ted Lewis in Circleville

Circleville Ohio’s first son and one of the greatest entertainers of all time will be celebrated throughout a three-day festival from June 9-11, 2017 to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Ted Lewis Museum.

The three-day affair features free film screenings, lectures, kid’s events and a special performance by the new Ted Lewis Orchestra and guest star Cathy Basic Van, the girl singer with Ted Lewis from 1955-1960.

The festival kicks off with a screening of a new digital HD transfer of Ted’s 1943 Columbia biopic, Is Everybody Happy. The screening will be held at the Pickaway County District Public Library at 1160 North Court St. in Circleville. The movie will be preceded by a memorial video tribute to museum founder Polly Miller at 6:45 PM. Admission is free and seating is general admission. The doors open at 6:30 p.m. 

The Saturday festivities begin at 10 a.m. with Kiddie Karnival, a kid’s extravaganza co-presented with the Pickaway County Library at the Ted Lewis Park at 443 North Court St. in Circleville.  There will be storytime with a new kid’s book about Ted’s childhood in Circleville, a musical instrument, petting zoo and face painting. In tribute to Ted’s youth working at local carnivals, there will be a “Wild Rosie” sideshow, free cotton candy and balloons for kids. Admission is free for kids of all ages.

Ted ran away with Dr. Cooper’s Medicine show at age 13 in 1903.  The museum will present an authentic turn-of-the-century medicine show at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday at Ted Lewis Park. This musical entertainment is by the Columbus Alliance Chorus Barbershop Quartet. Come and purchase a bottle of Dr. Cooper’s famous remedy, guaranteed to cure all ailments!

The Pickaway County District Public Library will host a Phonograph Demonstration on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. where collector David Van Meter will play Ted’s records and cylinders on a dozen historic phonographs.  This is followed by a special historical lecture and multimedia presentation at 1 p.m. entitled “Jazz De Luxe” – From Sideman to “Jazz King”: Ted Lewis and the Beginnings of Jazz, 1916-1919.”  England’s Mark Berresford, one of the leading authorities on Ted Lewis, will highlight Ted’s early career in honor of the 100th Anniversary of his first recording with Earl Fuller’s Jazz Band.  Admission is free and seating is general admission. 

As the highlight of the weekend, the museum will present its 2017 Scholarship Benefit featuring a performance by The Ted Lewis Orchestra on Saturday at 7 p.m. at Circleville High School at 380 Clark Drive. Tickets are $15 General Admission in advance and at the door. Children and Students will be admitted free. To purchase tickets and for more information visit www.tedlewismuseum.org or call 740-477-3630.

Taking inspiration from Ted’s 1952 homecoming and performance at the Circleville Coliseum, Joseph Rubin and the Ted Lewis Orchestra will pay tribute to the Ted Lewis Revue of the 1950s. Special guest star Cathy Basic Van will sing the songs she performed with and Lewis more than 60 years ago.

“We are thrilled to have Cathy Basic Van, the sole surviving performer with Ted Lewis, coming back to perform in the Circleville after an absence of 10 years,” said Mr. Rubin, curator of the Ted Lewis Museum and director of the Ted Lewis Orchestra.

For those who saw the Ted Lewis Orchestra revues at the Lincoln Theatre in Columbus, Ohio, Mr. Rubin wants audiences to rest assure that this will be a brand new show with all new acts and music from the Ted Lewis Museum archives as well as all the old favorites. As Ted’s advertising used to say, “Everything is new except the old high hat!”

On Sunday at 2 p.m., Ted Lewis Park will come alive with the music of Sousa, von Suppé, Pryor and Herbert as the museum presents an early 1900s concert in the park.  Ted Lewis got his musical training playing E-flat in the Circleville Cadet Band.  A 25-piece concert band, under the direction of Joseph Rubin, will recreate a typical concert program from the era with rousing marches and light classics. The 90-minute concert is free and open to the public (Rain Location: Circleville High School).

The Ted Lewis Museum’s 40th Anniversary Festival is funded in part by the Ohio Arts Council.  The lecture is made possible, in part, by the Ohio Humanities, a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. The festival is presented in collaboration with the Pickaway County District Public Library.

The Ted Lewis Museum is dedicated to celebrating the life and preserving the legacy of Circleville’s own Ted Lewis by making everybody happy through education and entertainment. Founded in 1977 by Lewis’ widow, Adah Becker Lewis, the museum pays tribute to one of Ohio’s greatest citizens and one of the greatest entertainers of all time. The Ted Lewis museum holds and displays Ted Lewis’ archives and music library in Lewis’ hometown, “The Capital of the World,” Circleville, Ohio. Admission to the museum is free and it is open every Friday and Saturday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. For more information visit www.tedlewismuseum.org.